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Why Present Perfect is the Most Useful Tense!

What is one thing that everyone has? A past. What is one thing people love taking about? Experiences! We have all been to places, seen interesting things and tried new foods, and it is great to share these experiences with other people.

When talking about past experiences, we can use different tenses. In simple past tense we would say ‘I went to Dubai once.’ Using present perfect – “I have been to Dubai.”

What is the difference? In English, the present perfect is used to talk about an action which started in the past and affects the present, because there is usually more to say – 'I have been to Dubai, and I would like to go again'.

Past simple is final because the event happened, and it is finished. To show you how this works, look at these examples:

I didn’t finish my report. (Final).

I haven’t finished my report. (I haven’t finished YET but there is still a possibility that I will).

Also, some ideas make more sense when you use the present perfect. You can say ‘I have never seen a real shark’ but it is grammatically incorrect to say ‘I never saw a real shark.’

The first example shows us how to form the present perfect. It always includes have or has for he/she/it and the past participle of a verb. The past participle of regular verbs follows patterns like this:

Walk – walked, shout – shouted, play – played

Dance – danced, trace – traced, bake – baked

Carry – carried, worry – worried, copy – copied

But for many irregular verbs, the past participle does not follow a pattern, it has to be learned.

Begin – begun, find – found, give – given

There are hundreds of resources on the internet with lists of irregular verbs, and it is a good idea to print one of these for your own study of English.

In the next part of this blog, we are going to show you some useful ways of using the present perfect question Have you ever been / seen…?

Firstly, look at these pictures prompts. What questions could you make?

For example, 'Have you ever been to (this place)?'

What about picture two, and 'been in...?' Do you know how to use this in a present perfect question? Maybe the picture will help you! We use been in to ask or tell someone about a place we have been inside of, like a building.

'Have you ever been in an English castle?'

'No, I haven’t but I have been in a French chateau.'

Finally, what kind of question could you make from picture three? Have you ever been on…?

We use this phrase for talking about some kinds of transport (on a plane, on a bike) and also some kinds of holiday. Have you ever been on a road trip? Or on a cruise?

The past participle of the verb to see is seen and it is useful for talking about the following topics:

What are interesting objects, animals or landmarks? They are things that are either famous or unusual. For example:

The challenge now is for you to think of some famous or unusual things that you've seen or places you have been and use them in your next English conversation. We are here to support you!

IQ Global has afree A2 taster session on the topic 'Family' and the present perfect. You can try our course English Voice for free! All you need to do is sign up to the website and you'll have access to free resources, like the taster sessions, as soon as they are released.

We hope you have enjoyed this blog on Why Present Perfect is the Most Useful Tense. As always, you will progress more by reading, listening and practising your English so make sure you check IQ Global for free resources and our YouTube channel. See you next time!

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